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    Fighting unnecessary capitalisation since June 2013
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    Glasgow, Scotland

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  1. Thanks for the comments @Silk and @Ace of Hearts, I really appreciate them, and to @Demiurgess for commenting offline by tracking and emailing the file. And, as ever, to @Mandamon. These comments are all really good stuff, and I strongly suspect I'll take almost all of them into the update draft. There will be a delay in that draft though, as I have to set this aside in order to finished Draft 1 of Book 3 first, before coming back to this in a week or two. Thanks to everyone who read. It's been super helpful to be back in the fold
  2. Hey there In summary, I enjoyed the action, but found a lot of it confusing and a bit underwhelming because of the lack of description, and how easily the creatures were defeated (lack of peril). The bit around A’s fight with the wolves was good, and I felt a little peril there, but it was over quickly. Also, I forgot why they have come to the island, and I think a callback to that would be useful, to give context on the relationship between the squad and the locals. Detail I’m pleased to encounter some action in this sub, and it is exciting, but I don’t feel as much peril as I would like. I never felt like A’s and her soldiers were in any danger. In large part I think this is because there is little description of the attacking monsters, how many they are, what they are attacking. It would be good to feel that they were some kind of threat, perhaps by getting some description of them destroying something on the beach, or even killing, or at least chasing some locals. I find the combat a bit tactically simplistic. Soldiers running around on the beach while troops fire from the wall over (relatively) large distances is a recipe for the foot soldiers being cut down by friendly fire. Also, I feel I’m lacking blocking on both the island and (as above) the attackers, but it’s hard to understand how the fight is working. Then, A charges into the wolves while the soldiers on the wall are shooting them. Those soldiers have no way to know she’s going to charge, so the chances of her being shot be they are really high. I also don’t understand the scale of the place, and the (lack of) description doesn’t help me. It’s said that A is quarter of the way around the island, but the soldier can still hit her target from the wall? What about hills, trees, other obstacles? The distances don’t add up. If that island is so small she can cover quarter of it that quickly, it can’t possibly produce enough food to feed its population. The swear from A during the combat is way out of character based on what I’ve read, and seems really off tone for the story (the bit I’ve read). I continue to struggle with feeling any peril, because the monsters are defeated so easily, and the lack of description of them undermines peril too. Without peril it’s hard to invest in the character stakes. Referring to a horde of monsters isn’t enough to convey their numbers or the danger they represent. The wolf fight was pretty good, but I need to feel the same thing for the fight as a whole. And as I think I mentioned on the last sub, the lack of description of sounds, sensations, “A tossed a boomerang up to one of the guards” – but she is quarter of the way around the island?! And there’s no indication that she moved because she’s still with the boy. I just can’t put the blocking of events together in my head. (Further details in emails file.)
  3. Well, if life can be a sentence... Okay, I just meant in the corner of the room/building/walls. I'll review further. Thanks!
  4. Check - clarified that it's each. Check. Done. Check. Yeah, he's just aggregating the increases. So, with them having an hour each, he and S get an extra 30 mins when he kills L, but when he kills S he has 2 hours more than he started with before he killed anyone. Reworded, thanks Check. Check! I mean, it would help if I got her cousin's name right after two books: it's M as in Super M, not M as in M Polo - Also, yeah, clarified the line... by making it longer, obviously Furthermore, I love the interpretation of this comment that implies TMM is nothing but massive run-on sentences Clarified. She'd supposed to be looking at her brother who's urging there to ask if M's coming on the exercise. Probably doesn't really come out, but I've clarified. Check. Dropped the italics and reworded slightly to put it in int-monologue narrative. Totally fair, it's not clear. Mandamon called it too. I've changed to 'slouched', can you slouch when sitting? I think you can. Yeah, but I figured it was on-brand. - I'm beyond saving, really. Have reworded. It was intentional. Maybe should have hyphenated 'serious-face', but now changed. It's a drill. Changed 'rescue' to 'retrieve'. Check. Good point. I'll review that as I read through. Check. Muah ha-hah Check. Have closed this circle. I'll look into this in the edit. I take your point Yeah, I think I will need to clarify that, as others have raised it. Check. Noted these things for review in the full edit Super Yup, that's reworded slightly after Mandamon calling it. He doesn't. Yeah, noted. One of my major actions now is (of course) to streamline the first half so we can get into the second half faster. Great comments. Much appreciated. This will really help to uplift the story. Thanks!! [Blargh! Why does 'it' merge comments?! Is there a way to stop it doing that?] ...and thanks too to @Demiurgess for her comments by email!
  5. Great stuff. Many thanks! I'll come back and respond in detail once I can review with the file in front of me
  6. The Lost Chord is dissonant, and I reject it! (Haven't been on it in ages, but still mean to go back and check my contact list before deleting the app.)
  7. Thank you once again for those excellent comments. I've now been through them in detail in the document and marked it up for the edit, and there is such a lot of valuable perspective there, it's going to be really helpful in aiding me to probably compress the first 'half' of the story, cut out unnecessary stuff, and see if I can weave more tension through it to carry the reader to the more immersive (I think) sharp end of the story. Really great stuff Thank you so much for your comments, @Silk, which I just know will challenge the story in all the best ways! I'll respond in detail shortly
  8. Thank you for the context! Yes, these are all things that I would of course have known if I'd been reading from the start I will certainly be reading this week, and it will be very useful to have this guidance. Thanks for your continued patience with me "bumbling around" in around in your story! Elon has discovered the lost chord!!!
  9. Hey, everyone, Really appreciate any eyes on this, and apologies again for the length. If it's any consolation, 200 words of that is title and section headers Many thanks for any and all comments! Robin CM Duncan (Robinski)
  10. Oh, man, yeah, it's carrots leaves you can eat. Thanks, good catch. I believe tomatoes, like potatoes, are a member of the nightshade family? So, yeah, let's not eat that... Oh, right. Excellent!! Yeah, I'll tidy that up, one way or another. Might just cut, we'll see. Thanks again!
  11. This is great stuff, thanks so much! I'll come back tomorrow and go through again in detail, but I can see very useful things here. Much appreciated
  12. Hey, should I read the version submitted on the 4th? Is there another version? Happy to read if there's time, but I don't want to add to submission stress!
  13. Thank you so much for reading. Much appreciated. Yep, I totally get the pacing thing. Maybe they are not needed, and if that's the outcome, I can consider dropping a character. I just felt that such a group should have a certain number, but I'll reserve judgement to get your final comments. Also, I wanted to have enough to think of them as a crew, and give a wee bit of a Star Trek vibe Good point. Noted! Was aiming to give a little insight into how food works on Hygiea, in terms of what they grow and what they import. It seems to me impossible to write this story without acknowledging the effect of these events on M, but maybe I can modify a bit. What I have very little sense of - being so embroiled and immerse in it all - is how much I can get away with in terms of details that will cause first-time readers to think "Oh, that sounds interesting, I must check that out" versus "What the heck is he talking about. I don't understand any of this!" They're new friends, of course, since Moth only went to Hygiea for the first time at the end of Book 1 (TMM), which was 4th October 2099, and this is 8th December 2099, so two months ago. I realised I had to have it verbatim of course, for continuity reasons Check; edited. Good points; edited! The idea was that Moth would think it really sad and pathetic to have a family clipboard, passed down through generations, but that in this case it is fact. So, she's not actually being mean. Oh, dear goodness... Thanks Check. It's a bit of an issue. I'll lean much more heavily on one of the two 'Tho', with maybe just an occasionally 'Tu'. I'll keep an eye on this. it is. Not sufficiently clear from context? I can have someone say it, if you think that would be better. I think (without reading the entire preceding page) it was M having a wee jibe at J, as test captain. I can drop or reword if it's confusing. Oops! Yes - forgot to delete. Heh! Can you expand on that, please? Just not 100% sure which bit you're reacting to, and never certain the pagination carries over between A4 and US page size. Eck. Typo on 'stilling' for one thing. Yes, thinking about herself. I'll seek to clarify. Yeah, that's not a great emotional payoff there. Agreed. Check. Have split up and trimmed both a little. I've edited. There is a key word missing, which is 'inflatable'. Inflatable heat shields are being investigated now, because of course the fuel involved in getting a heavy heat shield into orbit is expansive, and heavy in itself, necessitating even more extra fuel to launch the extra fuel for the heat shield into orbit in the first place. Yay! Thanks for much again for reading. In terms of pacing up to the hijack, yes, fair comment. I'm sure I can trim words, and I'll see what other reaction I get, but I can see that it would feel slow.
  14. Hi! I’m not sure I have ever read your stuff, and I apologise for that, but I think you joined just as I was stepping away? Or, I’ve just completely forgotten. Either way, I’m looking forward to it I read the previous chapter summaries; very useful, thank you. OVERALL SUMMARY The first thing that strikes me is that your style is direct, there’s no drifting around. I like that. I think the prose is economical, which really keeps things moving. In that sense, pacing is really good. The down side of that is that there is very little, almost no, description of anything, how anyone looks, the landscape, the textures, sounds, smells, etc. This means everything if focused on the people. That leads me to my second may point. The whole chapter is people talking to each other, talking about things that have already happened, or are going to happen. Because everything is talking, there are actually very few actions or activities, and that has the sense of dragging, waiting for something to happen. I know I haven’t read the other chapters, so I’m especially interested to come back next week and read what happens when they reach Ix. In a pacing sense, while the chapter is easy to read, it doesn’t really seem to progress the story. Third point, there are a lot of characters, and they all seem to get a bit of screen time, sometimes with very short mentions that don’t seem important at all to the plot/story. The result of having all these characters on the page, to me, is that no one feels substantial or gets a chance to have any depth. Even A, I’m not really sure how she feels about some of the stuff that’s going on. I may be suffering from not having the background of twelve previous submissions, so I have to bear that in mind, but these are my impressions of this sub. I hope they are helpful. DETAILS (also have email a tracked comments file) I’m a bit puzzled that the military commander is not supposed to know how to fight. I get that they would be expected not to go into the front lines, because their role is different. Unless all is lost, but to not be expected to know how to fight seems very odd. How are they qualified then to lead? This is the kind of problem, militarily, that leads to disasters like the Charge of the Light Brigade. However, maybe there is background that I don’t have from previous chapters. The tone of the meeting is strange to me. The queen seems to be given almost no respect in terms of her position, and the way she’s addressed, not just by the characters, but by the narrative. Referring to a queen by their first name, especially when shared by another character mention in the scene. She doesn’t really feel like a queen to me. Sometimes, I find the phrasing a bit unclear, or wordy. Generally, I enjoy how smooth the reading is, but sometimes I stumble on certain phrasing. One example, just to illustrate: “And once we fall, they can march in and take our land”. This sounds to me like Lilac is more concerned about the land being taken, because the fall of Jac is not phrased as the most important part of the sentence, it’s almost like an afterthought, in passing. The way I hear the intent of the line is something like ‘Once we are all dead, they’ll be able to take our land!’. I got quite confused over who was in charge. Often, Sp spoke for As, and made decisions for As. I see later that he seems to command her, but I didn’t get that to begin with. Then I got completely thrown by him telling her the base was under attack. Why didn’t he tell the Queen? Why did the Queen not know? Does she not have an intelligence network? Maybe it’s because I'm jumping in where I am, but if the Queen is their leader, and Sp is keeping tactical information from her I don’t understand why. Why on earth would they expect deserters to show up? Very odd. Deserters desert, that’s kind of the whole point. I really did not understand that. Then it sounds like As is taking the deserters on the mission?! But that’s not what deserters do, surely? The definition of deserter is someone who absconds, leaves, etc. If they are still present then I don’t think they can be considered deserters in a military sense. Then “That you don’t think they’ll try to murder us like they did before?” – Why would they take the deserters?! What value do they have? I am struggling severely to understand this. Normal reaction to deserters is to imprison them or, in times of war (historically?), shoot them as traitors. I feel I have to be missing something here. Hope there is something useful in here. Thanks for sharing!
  15. I really am sorry about the length of this. I suppose I could have split it into three parts, but that seemed like overkill for what it is. LMK if it's an issue.
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